The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame inducted eight new members Saturday night.
The Class of 2023 included 3 basketball legends, 3 gridiron greats, a multi-conference title-winning football coach and a former SEC golf coach.
Former Auburn Tiger Karlos Dansby, who played for the Tigers from 2000-03 and went on to a 14-year NFL career, was inducted along with former Crimson Tider and New Orleans Saint Roman Harper and former UAB Blazer and Atlanta Falcon star Roddy White. Dansby was a two-sport star at Woodlawn High. He chose football over basketball. He chose Auburn over Alabama.
"I had to stay in state. It was gonna be between Alabama and Auburn," Dansby, a first-team All-American linebacker, said. "I wasn't leaving. I wanted to be able to come home and write my legacy and my history."
Harper, who on more than one occasion during his playing days at Alabama bragged on his hometown of Prattville, was first team All-SEC safety in 2005. He went on to play on the Saints first ever Super Bowl Champion in Super Bowl XLIV.
"When it was all said and done with football the ultimate compliment somebody gives you is 'he was a pro.' And a lot of people said that about me," Harper said. "That means I did it the right way. I showed up with the right attitude. I put the work in off the field. And I showed up on Sundays and played at the highest level."
Childersburg native Gerald Wallace was a "one-and-done" at Alabama, entering the NBA Draft after his freshman season in 2001. He made the right choice. He finished with 9,993 points, 4,838 rebounds, and 1,725 assists over his 15-year NBA career.
"It shows the hard work and dedication I put in," Wallace said of his induction. "All the dreams and everything, It shows an appreciation and it's a reward for putting in all the hard work and to be recognized and to become a Hall of Famer means that everything I've done over the years will be remembered for the rest of my life."
Joining Wallace in the Class of 2023 was Theo Ratliff, a native of Demopolis who played his college ball at the University of Wyoming and then played 17 years in the NBA, finishing with 5,809 points, 4,596 rebounds, and 1,968 blocks.
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"It's a tremendous honor," Ratliff said of his selection. "With all the greats, Charles Barkley, Bo Jackson, the great Bear Bryant. You just name a few people you grew up watching on television and Hall of Famers., their sport and also coaching-wise. It's just a great honor to be standing beside them."
Also representing the heroes of the hardwood was Larry Kenon, a Birmingham native, who played for Memphis State, leading the Tigers to the 1973 National Championship Game. That season Kenon averaged more than 20 points per game, on 52.5% shooting, and led Memphis State in rebounding with 16.7 per game. Kenon was coached by the late, great legendary Gene Bartow, who went on to become the first coach in the history of UAB Basketball and also wound up in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
"When you go to a school that has a mentor like Coach Gene Bartow, you're gonna learn the game." Kenon said. "No matter how much talent you may have physically, you're going to learn the game of basketball. He's gonna teach you how to use the backboard. He's gonna teach you how to use the game on angles."
Also going was Jackie Sherrill, a member of the 1964 and 1965 National Championship teams at Alabama. He was a head coach at Pittsburgh, Texas A&M (3 SWC Titles) and Mississippi State (1998 SEC West Title)
Here is a list of the inductees and bios:
KAREN MAYSON BAHNSEN – GOLF | Born October 11, 1960 in Mobile, AL. Bahnsen was the first female golfer to receive an athletic scholarship at Louisiana State University where she played from 1980-83. She was head coach of the Lady Tigers from 1985-2018. During Bahnsen’s 34 years as head coach, her teams recorded 28 team titles and 28 individual titles. She led the Tigers to an SEC Championship victory in 1992 and her teams qualified for the NCAA Championship Tournament eleven times. In 2011, Bahnsen’s team finished third in the NCAA National Championship Tournament, and LSU golfer Austin Ernst won the NCAA Individual Championship. The National Golf Coaches Association inducted Bahnsen into its Coaches Hall of Fame in 2009.
KARLOS DANSBY – FOOTBALL | Born November 3, 1981 in Birmingham, AL. Dansby was an All-State linebacker and wide receiver at Woodlawn High School and played football at Auburn University from 2000-2003. During his career at Auburn, he was a First-Team All-American and Butkus Award semi-finalist. Dansby was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft. During his 14-year NFL career, he spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Bengals. When Dansby signed with the Dolphins in 2010, his $43 million contract made him the highest paid inside linebacker in NFL history at that time. He finished his career with 1,422 tackles, 43 sacks, and 20 interceptions.
ROMAN HARPER – FOOTBALL | Born December 11, 1982 in Prattville, AL. Harper played football at the University of Alabama where he started at safety for three seasons. During his time at Alabama, Harper accumulated 302 tackles along with five interceptions and five forced fumbles. He was named First-Team All-SEC his senior year. Harper was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. In Super Bowl XLIV, Harper led the Saints with eight tackles, and the team won their first Super Bowl in franchise history. He played eight years with the Saints before signing with the Carolina Panthers as a free agent in 2014. After two seasons with the Panthers, Harper played his final year with the Saints in 2016. He finished his 11-year NFL career with 819 tackles, 18 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, and 11 interceptions. In 2020, Harper was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame.
LARRY KENON – BASKETBALL | Born December 13, 1952 in Birmingham, AL. Kenon played two years at Amarillo College before transferring to Memphis State University. In his junior year, Kenon was named the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year and helped lead Memphis State to the NCAA Championship Game. As a member of the New York Nets, Kenon won the ABA Championship as a rookie and was also named to the ABA All-Rookie First Team. After three seasons with the Nets, Kenon was traded to the San Antonio Spurs who merged with the NBA in 1976. Kenon also spent time with the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, and Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a three-time ABA All-Star, two-time NBA All-Star, and holds the NBA record for most steals in one game with 11. Kenon finished with 12,954 points and 6,701 rebounds in his 11-year ABA/NBA career.
THEO RATLIFF – BASKETBALL | Born April 17, 1973 in Demopolis, AL. Ratliff attended the University of Wyoming where he led the country in blocks in 1993 and was named First-Team All-Conference in 1994 and 1995. He was drafted 18th overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1995 NBA Draft. Ratliff played three seasons in Detroit before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. After four years with the 76ers, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks where he was named an NBA All-Star in 2001 and led the NBA in blocks in 2001, 2003, and 2004. Ratliff also spent time with the Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Bobcats, and Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 2011. Ratliff finished his 17-year NBA career with 5,809 points, 4,596 rebounds, and 1,968 blocks. He was inducted into the University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.
JACKIE SHERRILL – FOOTBALL – COACHING | Born November 28, 1943 in Duncan, OK. Sherrill played football at the University of Alabama and was a member of two consecutive National Championship teams. After his playing career, Sherrill was a graduate assistant at Alabama and Arkansas. He was an assistant coach at Iowa State and Pittsburgh before receiving his first head coach position at Washington State in 1976. After one season at WSU, he returned to Pittsburgh, serving as head coach from 1977-1981. He was named the Walter Camp Coach of Year in 1981. In 1982, Sherrill became the head coach of Texas A&M and, from 1985-87, led them to three consecutive Southwest Conference Championships earning SWC Coach of the Year honors in all three seasons. He was the head coach at Mississippi State for 13 years and won the SEC Western Division in 1998. He is one of only two Division I-A head football coaches to ever lead three different schools to ten wins or more in a season. His overall record was 180-120-4.
GERALD WALLACE – BASKETBALL | Born July 23, 1982 in Sylacauga, AL. During his senior year at Childersburg High School, Wallace was named the Naismith Prep Player of the Year and First-Team Parade All-American. He played collegiately at the University of Alabama for one season and then declared for the NBA Draft. Wallace was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 25th overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft. He was later selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2004 NBA Expansion Draft. In 2006, Wallace led the NBA in steals. He was an NBA All-Star in 2010 and was named NBA All-Defensive First-Team. Wallace is one of three players in NBA history to average at least two steals and two blocks per game over the course of an entire season. He was selected to the 2010–2012 USA Basketball Men’s National Team to represent the United States in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Wallace also played with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics. He finished with 9,993 points, 4,838 rebounds, and 1,725 assists over his 15-year NBA career.
RODDY WHITE – FOOTBALL | Born November 2, 1981 in Charleston, SC. White played college football at the University of Alabama-Birmingham from 2001-2004 where he amassed over 3,000 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns. During his senior season, White led the nation with 1,452 receiving yards. He was selected 27th overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2005 NFL Draft. In 2010, White was named First-Team All-Pro and led the NFL in receptions. He was also selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls from 2008-2011. White spent his entire 11-year NFL career with the Falcons and leads the franchise in career receiving touchdowns. He finished his career with 808 receptions, 10,863 yards, and 63 touchdowns.